Science and the Environment

Science news

Thousands of immigrants have died crossing the southern U.S. border. Many are never identified, leaving their loved ones to speculate about their fate.

Jill Ament

For several years now, the city of Waco has been trying to make the historic mammoth site a national monument. The city council decided last night to seek executive action from President Obama to make this resolution a reality. 


For years, some residents of Parker County in North Texas have believed that nearby gas drilling was responsible for high levels of methane in neighborhood water wells. Research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences appears to back that up.

The study looked at water contamination in Texas and Pennsylvania. It suggests that faulty cement jobs on drilling wells could be at fault in North Texas. Cement is poured between the rock wall and the steel tubing of oil and gas wells to block contaminants.

“We think either there isn’t enough cement in this location or more likely there are cracks or imperfections in that cement. That’s what allowed the strong gas to move up through the well and then out into peoples drinking water,” says Robert Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Stanford, who co-authored of the study.

It’s been a shaky week in Texas with two small earthquakes rattling the Dallas-Fort Worth area and another slightly more powerful quake detected in South Texas.

On Sunday, the first quake measuring magnitude 2.4 struck near Arlington. It prompted some residents to call 9-1-1 after feeling their houses shake and hearing “explosions,” according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Earthquakes are often accompanied by loud “booms,” something that has become a source of anxiety in newly quake-prone parts of the state.

We reported on Monday that a meteor, thought possibly to be a chunk of an Earth-passing asteroid, was the cause of a 40-foot crater outside the international airport in the Nicaraguan capital.

But astronomers and NASA scientists are now casting doubt on that possibility. The biggest mystery is that no one so far has reported seeing a flash of light in the sky that would be expected to accompany such a meteor strike.

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